Don’t Make Me Go Interview: John Cho and Mia Isaac Talk Vital Road Trip

A heartbreaking drama is about to hit Prime Video.

Ahead of the Don’t Make Me Go, ComingSoon spoke with leading actors John Cho and Mia Isaac about their latest work. Cho and Isaac portray a family that doesn’t succumb to desperation despite life’s events and embarks on an existential road trip. Written by Vera Herbert and directed by Hannah Marks, Don’t Make Me Go also stars Mitchell Hope, Jemaine Clement, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Kaya Scodelario.

“When single father Max (John Cho) discovers he has a terminal disease, he decides to try and cram all the years of love and support he will miss with his teenage daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) into the time he has left with her,” reads the synopsis. “With the promise of long-awaited driving lessons, he convinces Wally to accompany him on a road trip from California to New Orleans for his 20th college reunion, where he secretly hopes to reunite her with her mother who left them long ago. A wholly original and emotional journey, Don’t Make Me Go explores the unbreakable, eternal bond between a father and daughter from both sides of the generational divide with heart and humor along for the ride.”

Tudor Leonte: How did you build your father-daughter chemistry? Did you hang out much on set?

Mia Isaac: Yeah! [Laughs]. I mean, I don’t think we had a choice unless you’re gonna hop out of a moving car. If you disliked me that much! We were in the car together for a very long time, played a lot of road trip games, and sang a lot of songs. I think over time, we just didn’t get sick of each other.

John Cho: It was really a natural fit. I gotta say, this didn’t require a lot of prep on our part. She felt like she could be my daughter right off the bat and we just kind of leaned into what was existing and leaned into the words. It definitely worked because we were the right people, I think, in the right combination. It was really easy in that respect.

RELATED: Don’t Make Me Go Trailer: John Cho Leads Amazon Comedy-Drama Film

Mia, how do you not succumb to desperation as a daughter who has been abandoned by her mother and guesses that something is off with her father?

Isaac: Wally has been through a lot, and that’s not something that’s really shown very much in the movie. I think that’s because she’s okay and a lot of that is because Max was always there for her and showed her all the love that she needed. The movie is about a single father and his daughter. Max does his best to make sure that Wally knows that she’s loved regardless. Yes, there’s hurt, and there’s pain behind her mom leaving, but I think what’s great is it’s made their relationship stronger.

John, you portray a single father dealing with a brain tumor. How did you balance the desperation between being forced to live in a fatal condition and the need to leave a message of hope for your daughter? 

Cho: It’s sort of built into the story cleverly, which is that he’s not telling her initially, so he has to pretend, and he has to keep alive, and there’s nobody that makes you forget your blues also like your children. It was easy to just kind of sink into the pretending and to put that away. My personality’s also like someone who can com compartmentalize and push things away and forget about it, and that’s how he has to survive. That’s how he moves forward in life, is to put the things that are gonna interfere with his daily life aside and keep pushing forward.

In your opinion, what’s the most crucial moment of Max and Wally’s journey?

Cho: Telling each other the truth. There is a scene where all their secrets come out and are they gonna survive that moment? Are they going to survive knowing everything about one another? I think that’s a human thing where you go with your loved ones. What if she finds out? What if she knows this about me? If they really love you, they’ll take it all.


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